We’ve reached our final leg on the Made in America tour! After checking in on our neighbors in the Northeast, South, and Midwest, it’s time to let the western states shine. From established traditions being passed down to modern day, to new innovations in handmade products, these businesses will help you kiss big-name shopping goodbye.
Alaska: Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers
A statewide co-operative of native knitters in Alaska.
We’re starting off with a group that manages to be both hyper-local and spread across the state, making it a solid contender to represent Alaska. Since 1969, members of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Co-Operative have been hand-crafting 100% natural wool items. Considered to be even softer than cashmere, qiuviut is the name for the ultra-fine hairs found on the belly of musk oxen native to the region. Since women from all over the state are members, each village leaves its own unique mark. Different stitch patterns are found in each area, meaning you’re getting something that’s both handmade and traditional.
Arizona: Hayden Flour Mills
A revitalized heritage grain stone mill in Queen Creek, Arizona.
After a 100+ year-old flour mill went under, some locals decided to recreate the original vision, producing wheat that is minimally processed and flavorful. Hayden Flour Mills might not be operating out of the original (now historic) site, but they’ve achieved their founding goal. Everything from custom flour blends, wheat berries, polenta and crackers are all hand-milled and beautifully packaged on site. Everything is minimally processed, non-GMO, and they specialize in White Sonora wheat, the oldest wheat variety in the country, brought over in the 1700s. It’s a great testament to preserving the best parts of the past!
California: Heath Ceramics
Handcrafted ceramics made since 1948 in Sausalito, California.
After being founded by a husband and wife team in the 1940’s, little has changed about the manufacturing process at Heath Ceramics… and that’s a good thing! Although they’re nationally recognized now for making coveted, high-quality ceramic products, every item is still carefully handcrafted by local artisans. All of the products have a clean, minimal appeal and would work in a variety of homes. It’s great to see that even though a company has found huge success, they’re still sticking to their local roots of design, quality and production.
Colorado: MM Local
Selling naturally preserved local & organic produce found in Colorado.
There’s no need to dig around when the best locally-produced food is in one, convenient spot. MM Local buys directly from family-owned, organic Colorado farms, preserving the food with only the most basic ingredients. Want to taste some Colorado peaches? Crack open a jar knowing the contents will contain just fresh fruit, water, and raw organic sugar. They also offer stakes in a harvest share CSA-style program, where the best produce and yields are selected for you and ready for pickup.
Hawaii: Wings Hawaii
Handmade jewelry & clothes made from reclaimed materials in Maui, Hawaii.
What began as a school art project has transformed into a huge success: Wings Hawaii is an all-female run local jewelry and clothing company. The team uses reclaimed materials when they can, hand-picked vintage and organic fabrics. Everything is carefully created using local materials, such as items collected on the beach, while still maintaining a carefree and approachable vibe. As they say, “Every bit is still created by hand with the same love and aloha as the original pieces.”
Idaho: Lit & Co. Candles
Small-batch soy candles made using reclaimed containers in Boise, Idaho.
Lit & Co. Candles prove that sometimes simple is better: small-batch candles are handcrafted in a variety of scents (80+), including teakwood, snow and black pepper. If you’re looking for something really one of a kind, you can also stop by their fragrance bar to create your own custom blend. Aside from the candles themselves, most of the containers are repurposed from old Boise-area wine bottles donated from local bars, which were cut down by citizens trying to get back into the work force. The best companies help everyone out!
Montana: Kochel Guitars
Guitars handmade from reclaimed materials in Potomac, Montana.
We’ve seen some pretty unique customized guitars before, but nothing like the striking designs and rich history of Kochel Guitars. Focusing on preserving the past, this company uses reclaimed materials and their talent for craftsmanship to come up with amazing pieces. Antique wood from local buildings, ammo cartridges and even bones from bison are beautifully shaped into the superbly inventive designs of the guitars. With every aspect of the instrument seeped in local history and assembled by local craftsmen, this is definitely a product Montana can be proud of!
Nevada: Nevada Brining Company
Artisanal pickles made from locally-sourced ingredients in Reno, Nevada.
Grab some cheese and crackers because we’re talking snack food. After spending his childhood filled with an appreciation for the craft, head “Pickle Guy” Matt decided to make a passion his career. Rather than just sticking to a standard model, Nevada Brining Company releases limited/seasonal pickles based on what’s available from nearby farmers. Everything is handcrafted in small batches, and veggies like cucumbers, carrots and onions are custom blended with local flavors like juniper berries, chili peppers and local whiskey. Nevada, don’t feel guilty about trying all of the variations…it’s state pride!
New Mexico: Los Poblanos Farm Shop
Locally-sourced and house-made organic farm products in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A local landmark since the 1930’s, Los Poblanos is an historic inn and working organic farm, specializing in lavender and incorporating the food grown into delicious meals for guests. And while spending time at the Inn is a destination in and of itself, their farm shop works to round up all the best parts into one-stop shopping. Their lavender crops are transformed into rich salves and soaps, and their house-made granola, chile sauce and caramels hold their own next to a wide variety of other New Mexico-made products. If you’re looking to shop locally, why not also get an amazing experience out of it?
Oregon: Maak Lab
Locally-sourced & artisan bath goods made in Portland, Oregon.
Like most companies in Portland, Maak Lab has really set the bar high for locally-made products. They focus on creating experiences around scent so that showering with their sea bar, for example, will make you feel like you’re hanging out on the coast. It was also interesting to check out some of their custom blends, like the tobacco-infused “Grimy Living” and the leather-scented bars made for a local tannery. It’s not just a case of throwing two flavor scents together and calling it a combo (it’s called a lab for a reason); everything is meticulously tested and formulated to capture an overall experience. I’m first in line to order the “Thanksgiving dinner spread” custom blend, FYI.
Utah: Allgood Provisions
Certified organic and sustainable snacks made in Park City, Utah.
Promises of organic farming techniques and earth-friendly packaging are great, but they’re nothing without some tasty product to back them up. Allgood Provisions walks the walk with their line of delicious and nutritious snacks. Sun-dried blueberries, banana chips and curry-roasted almonds mean you can nibble away knowing you’re eating something good for you. Everything is certified organic, vegan and non-GMO, and the company even donates a portion of every sale to the 1% For the Planet Foundation for the preservation of the environment. Good for you, good for the earth.
Washington: Eat Local
A same-day local prepared food delivery service in Seattle, Washington.
Most people would like to eat locally whenever possible, but what if you can’t drop by the farmers’ market every day? Seattle’s Eat Local hand-prepares delicious meals made from local ingredients, which are quickly frozen to preserve the perfect freshness. All of the meals are handmade and come in a delicious variety of tastes: Thai chicken curry, 100% grass-fed Beef Wellington, and offerings in the under-400 calorie range. If you stop by one of their Washington storefronts, you’ll also be able to browse through a variety of state-made goods and locally crafted treats, like fresh pasta and regional wines. There’s no excuse not to cook yourself something nutritious and support local makers!
A storefront selling locally-handmade items in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Artists can have difficulty finding an initial following, which is why they often need to band together to get their work out there. That’s the thinking behind MADE, a collective of artisan repurposed, handmade and one-of-a-kind goods. Delicate gold necklaces are stocked next to handmade leather wallets and something magical called pig candy. If you can’t stop by the store, you can still support local artists by browsing through their extensive online shop. And with a collection of handmade cards and decorative bags, you can get all of your holiday gifting done in one place!
We’ve finished our locally-made journey across the country! But since there are tons of other amazing shops out there, we want to hear your favorites! Let us know in the comments where our next shopping trip should be.